Well hello there! And welcome to another year on Den Språkliga Skatan! For this post, I just wanted to do a little housekeeping – look back on the monumental howling clusterfuck that was 2016 and a look forward to what will be happening for me in 2017. With some languages sprinkled around for good measure, just because it’s me.
Let’s get started then, shall we? I think it’s fair to say that 2016 started off badly, and then got progressively worse from there. This year, we lost a great many people who meant so much to so many of us, if I started to list them I might still be here in 2018. There are just a couple that were particularly significant to men, and I don’t think I’d manage to write this post without mentioning them.
I don’t know much of Alan Rickman’s work beyond his portrayal of Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films, but it’s a role he was so perfect for, I can’t even imagine Snape as anybody else. And he’ll always be very dear to me for that. It’s strange, really, because most of the films I saw him in, he played a character that I immediately hated. Not just the Harry Potter films (because let’s face it, Snape did make some effort towards the end but he did make life hell for an 11 year old boy just because he was jealous of his father), but also in «Love, Actually», when he gave Emma Thompson the Joni Mitchell CD. Oh, that broke my bloody heart. But being able to evoke that sort of a reaction in somebody shows great talent. And he will be sorely missed.
Next, I wanted to pay my respects to Debbie Reynolds, who passed away just last week, just a day after her daughter, Carrie Fisher. A lot of people were understandably upset by Fisher’s death, and although the work she did for mental health charities makes her a true heroine of our time, I had never really seen any of her acting work. Her mother, on the other hand, acted as my introduction to musical theatre thanks to one of the only three VHS tapes my grandmother owned being «Singin’ In The Rain». I became obsessed almost immediately, and it’s easy to see why when you look back at the iconic scene that accompanies the song «Good Morning»… I dread to think how much time and effort must have gone into filming that one sequence! It wasn’t until later that I realised that she had also played the mother of one of the titular characters of «Will & Grace», another of my favourites.
The real blow for me came with the passing of one of Britain’s greatest comedy talents, Victoria Wood. It’s strange, really, to be so upset at the death of someone you’ve never even been in the vicinity of meeting and didn’t know personally in the vaguest sense. And yet, she was such a huge part of my life. I remember being off school for quite a long time when I was in my mid-teens, and a relative bought me a copy of Victoria Wood’s «An Audience With» show on DVD. I watched it for weeks – there were some days when I’d put it on, watch it, then start it again when it had finished, and it would still make me laugh. She was a genius, so generous with her writing… I must have seen «Dinnerladies» so many times I know the lines better than the cast. And it’s just so hard to think that there won’t be any more. She’s left a space in British comedy that I don’t think will ever be filled. Thanks from the bottom of my heart, Victoria, for all the laughs.
But what about me? Well, 2016 was quite a quiet year for me… I got abroad as much as possible, which was nice. I started learning Hungarian, which I dropped almost as quickly as I’d started… now I’m focusing my efforts on Finnish, Japanese and Slovak (the first due to work priorities, the latter two just out of curiosity). So who knows where the next year will take me? Maybe by the time I write my post in February I’ll have moved on to Mongolian, Croatian and Estonian, but let’s keep our collective fingers crossed that I’ll persevere this time.
As for New Year’s resolutions, I’m going to keep on going with the ones I had this time last year. Write at least one blog post every month for an entire year (which I succeeded in doing, much to my surprise!) and to read more books than I did last year (which I also managed, but I only surpassed my total from last year by one)… but hey, a success is a success! What about you, what are your New Year’s resolutions, if you have any? Leave me a comment and let me know. And as always, thanks for reading, and for following me through this year, and I hope you’ll stick with me into the next one.